By Charlie Brown

We live in a world that is overrun by technology. With this being so, you can be sure that there is no shortage of software and hardware that can be used to record or to transcribe a court case. This begs the questions, is a court reporter really necessary? The short and long and answer is, yes! It is common knowledge that voice recognition and recording software cannot accurately detect the indirect nuances that litter human speech. It is only the human mind that can precisely and carefully analyze the speech patterns of humans.

Even though the reporter sits in court looking like a misplaced person, typing away as the proceedings go on about them, they are a very key person in court. In fact, as a reporter in some states, you may find that court proceedings cannot go on without you. This makes you just as important as the attorneys, witnesses and judge. There are certain times when a judge may have the option of choosing between a recording and a reporter, but in most cases the reporter is mandated due to the fact that the human touch provides a more accurate transcript of how the case actually goes.

Capturing an accurate record

Court reporters are expected to capture a record of all that goes on in the court verbatim. This can only be done after you have received specialized training that includes:

– Law
– Legal terminology
– Court proceedings
– Medical terminology
– Other subjects

You must also be able to type not less than 225 words a minute on the stenotype machine. As you type the proceedings in shorthand, they are then translated to a full transcript that can be understood by others and it becomes a part of the records officially kept by the court clerk about that case. This transcript is important for reference during court proceedings and can also be requested by attorneys interested in reviewing how the day’s proceedings went. 

In the event that the case goes into appeal, an accurate record of the proceedings is very important. Those appealing may decide to use some part of or the entire transcript when making their appeal and in many cases, the judges will often use it when deciding whether or not they should grant the defendant an appeal.

Increasing conscientiousness

One of the hidden advantages of having a court reporter in the legal proceedings is that by your mere presence, everyone is aware that every word is being recorded. This makes them more conscientious about what they are saying since everything will be official evidence once it is out there. Even though the role of the reporter is a silent one, you control how accurate the record of the proceedings will be.

From time to time, you are required to speak up in order to ask people to repeat themselves, or to ensure that witnesses respond verbally and not with gestures. Additionally, you ensure that only one person speaks at a time. Furthermore, you may be required to read back what they have put down or to take note of emphasized phrases and words.


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